The ninth annual Edmison Mehr Rusty Elbow Squash Tournament hit the courts at the Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre last weekend, with over 40 competitors taking part in seven divisions for men and women. Organizer Michael Mehr said turnout at this year’s season-opening tournament was stronger than last year’s edition.
“Turnout was particularly strong in the beginner levels, which is a great sign for the future of the club,” he said.
The numbers also allowed organizers to schedule evenly matched pools from C level up to the A+ level.
“The higher numbers let us create really competitive pools, which is better for everyone, so we had some really great squash,” said Mehr. “It was the kickoff for hopefully a really successful squash season.”
The tournament drew a few out of town players, from Prince Rupert, Terrace and Prince George. Although there are usually a few seasoned high level players that travel back and forth between Prince Rupert and Smithers for tournaments, several novice players also made the trip this year, said Mehr.
“You don’t have to be a top level player to have a nice weekend away playing some squash,” he said.
Travel can be a requirement for some northern squash players looking to take part in organized competition. There are two annual tournaments in Prince Rupert, and none in Prince George, while members of the Smithers Squash Club organize three annual tournaments – the Rusty Elbow, the Great White Bustard in January, and the B.C. Web Spring Open in April.
The headline match at this year’s Rusty Elbow was the showdown between sponsor and organizer Mehr, and Prince Rupert’s Richard Haley in the A+ Men division. Haley won the match, but not without a fight.
In the A- Men division, Spring Open organizers Mark Edwards and Simon Franklin battled for the top spot, with Franklin winning.
The B Division saw Terrace’s Adam Teichrob in the top spot, with Great White Bustard co-organizer Ken White in second. Jeremy Whiston won the C Men title, with Doug Henderson in second.
Terri Stewart-Mindel won the A Women division, with Shelley Worthington in second.
In the B Women, Deb Schweder took the top spot, with Patty Menning in second. Tara Murphy won the C Women division, beating Alyssa Anderson in the final match.